I’m lucky enough to have family living on the beaches of Delaware. My aunt hosted a party of three lunatic runners (me, my buddy Beth, and my sister) for a weekend so that we could catch up and get an eight mile training run in. I planned out a run along the ocean – four miles out and four miles back. It’s a beautiful run, but it was about 37 degrees out, and the wind gusts off of the ocean were pretty cold…that’s why I say “lunatic.”
We are three very different runners. Beth has been at it on and off for years. She routinely runs MUCH faster than I do, but had never gone farther than five miles on a run. She’s taller than I am and built like a runner – leggy and slim. Beth looks like she can run and she sure can.
My sister’s a beginning runner who is quickly developing a competitive runner’s mindset. She’d never run anything close to eight miles and had no intention of doing so this time. Her plan was to start with us and let us pull ahead. She’d go as far as she could until she saw us coming back, then she’d turn back and head back.
I’m sorta between. I’m not built to run (quite the opposite, I think), but I’ve done it for a while. I’m not all that fast at all, but I get the job done. My mindset is not competitive. I’m out there to go and get the run in. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment of knowing I’d just done something. I’m out there to do the best *I* can do – not better than everybody else can do. (I’ll cop to being happy when I do better than someone else, but I consider that kinda a bad way for me to think about running.)
The run worked out REALLY well. It was COLD, but we had the gear we needed to protect us from the cold. The first mile went great. The first quarter mile of the second mile was the only place you could lose the track, so Beth and I stopped and let my sister catch up. We wanted to make sure she didn’t get lost. The second mile was OK. About halfway through the third, my lower back started acting up. I wound up having to walk before we even finished 3 miles, which sucked. I actually stopped for a minute or two and stretched out my back some in hopes that the extra stretch would make it stop complaining. It helped, I think, but I still had to walk far enough that Lisa caught up again. After that, we walked and ran, Lisa catching up when we walked. Then Lisa pulled ahead and beat us to the halfway mark…which meant that she was stuck now – she’s gonna run the whole thing after all. 🙂
We did stop at the halfway mark and stretch again. She did great! It sucks that my back hurt, but if it had anything to do with my sister doing the whole run, then it’s worth it. She’s going to be a better runner than I am any second now. One of the things holding her back is the assumption that she can’t make it that far. I really hope that this helps her figure out that, oh yeah… she can!
The way back was tough. We all ran separately for the way back. Beth ran the whole thing, I think. I walked and ran until I got to the last mile – then I ran the rest of it, back be damned. My sister was behind me somewhere, so I didn’t see how well she was doing. I finished in one hour, forty-eight minutes. Not too bad considering how often we stopped and how far we walked. Definitely not as well as I wanted to do, but all things considered, not terrible.
There were other benefits besides just being able to say that I finished a frigid eight mile run with a somewhat decent time. I also had a chance to catch up with my good buddy Beth, which is a rare thing. We got to enjoy watching the surf for a little bit. The beach is what I call my “happy place.” It’s a silly phrase, but it’s the place where I have had the most happy memories growing up. Lots of happy memories as a grown-up, too, of course. The sight, sound, and feel of the sun, sand, and surf…even when it’s 37 degrees…just make me happy. Also, part of the run was beside a water fowl refuge. We saw a lot of beautiful birds – several herons including one blue heron that put on a short ice-skating show for us.
All in all, I’d call it a successful run, even if it didn’t go *quite* as planned. 🙂